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Gaffes That Keep IT Geeks From the Boardroom 652

Posted by kdawson
from the to-say-nothing-of-the-pocket-protector dept.
buzzardsbay writes "Yes, it's all in good fun to point out the mismatched belt and shoes and the atrocious hairstyles, but honestly, I'm committing three of these errors right now! Is that why I can't get a key to the executive washroom? Or is it my rebellious attitude and pungent man-scent that's keeping me down? The shocker in here was pigtails on women... I love pigtails on women!"
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Gaffes That Keep IT Geeks From the Boardroom

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  • Slashdot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by youthoftoday (975074) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @02:42AM (#22570446) Homepage Journal
    Trying to get first post is a classic sign
  • by ThomasHoward (925022) * on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @02:49AM (#22570480)
    Who cares about the pay, once you are earning above a certain amount, being happy with what you do is far more important than earning more money. programming sounds far more fun than managing things and people. Give me t-shirts and jeans, screw wearing shirts, ties, suits and overpriced uncomfortable stuff like that.
    • by chimpo13 (471212) <slashdot@nokilli.com> on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @02:59AM (#22570536) Homepage Journal
      Wow, a lot of that list was written by MBA jerks jealous over what IT staff does. I never thought of it that way before. It never bothered me in my jobs as "what" I was wearing. But as ThomasHoward says, "being happy with what you do is far more important than earning more money".

      T-shirts and jeans!
      • Wow, a lot of that list was written by MBA jerks jealous over what IT staff does.

        No, as an MBA jerk, I can assure you I have no jealousy of IT whatsoever.

        That list was written by a hack journo with no intent to reflect anyone's real world attitudes and every intent of boosting ad impressions by getting it posted to Slashdot and Reddit.

        It's a shallow swipe at some IT stereotypes, nothing more. It should be in some internet scrapheap, not the front page.

        • by ta bu shi da yu (687699) * on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @06:22AM (#22571538) Homepage
          True. I mean, didn't even get the following right:

          "Quick, name one executive's bio photo that shows him or her wearing a billowy floral shirt? Zzzt! Times up! Wear these on vacation if you must, but don't show up to a quarterly meeting in one of these numbers."

          Pfft. Evidently the author has never been to an APEC conference [wikimedia.org].
        • ... he won't even admit he's jealous!

          Anyway, I concur with your opinion of the article ... it's crap.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by digitig (1056110)

          That list was written by a hack journo with no intent to reflect anyone's real world attitudes and every intent of boosting ad impressions by getting it posted to Slashdot and Reddit.

          No, it does reflect real world attitudes. A few years ago I got a haircut and started wearing a suit to work, and suddenly started getting promotions (I don't work there any more, by the way, and don't have enough hair left to be worth cutting). They may not be attitudes we like, but they're real-world attitudes.

    • by jotok (728554) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @03:01AM (#22570546)
      That is a really good attitude to have. I, on the other hand, look really good in suits, and I like consulting more than I like programming. To each his own.
      • Actually, men who have some kind of aversion to suits probably have never had a properly fitted one.

        A suit should be as comfortable as a pair of pajamas.

        Of course, this means getting properly fitted by a tailor, especially the shirt. If you think about shirts, they can't possibly fit every body perfectly. Some people probably should have custom tailored shirts. It's expensive, but as in many things having to do with clothing, men have it a lot better than women. Men only need two pairs of quality d
    • by Bananatree3 (872975) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @03:19AM (#22570638)
      If being a respectably-paid techie means I can wear a Hawaiian shirt and shorts on a hot sticky summer day, I'll take that over some high-paid exec sweating bullets in his black suit when its 90+ degrees out. Hell, if it's 100+ I'll go Kilting because I can. That's the kind of freedom over stuffy board rooms and sweating suits, and plust the fact that I love the work I do I'll keep that "lower" position thankyouverymuch.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @03:41AM (#22570764)
        So you'd rather be a geek than an exec because the mandatory underwear isn't appealing?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        So, uh, "Bananatree," you like to wear kilts to work and keep your "lower" positioned? There's a reason people don't want you above them on the corporate ladder. Especially on a windy day.
      • by OakLEE (91103) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @05:14AM (#22571242)
        I'll take that over some high-paid exec sweating bullets in his black suit when its 90+ degrees out.

        You know, since we're on the subject of fashion, I want to err the gripe I have about the black suit. It has been making a comeback in business attire, and for the life of me I cannot figure out why.

        First, the social argument against the black suit. Traditionally, black suits were the province of the help or the dead (i.e., butlers and funerals). Black dye was cheap, and the suit color looked austere which is why they perfect for funerals and the help since it never drew attention. In fact black was so verboten, famous clothier Brooks Brothers did not even offer an off the rack black suit until the 1990s, because Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in one. Source [wikipedia.org]. Why, given its history, that its come back in fashion I do not understand.

        Second, the practical argument. You are completely right in that black suits are absolutely miserable to wear in the summer. They also tend to get noticably washed out faster from dry cleaning. They also are show absolutely no originality or as Office Space would say, "flare." A black suit, IMO, shows that a person put less thought into getting dressed than a person who wears sock/sandals and a big Hawaiian shirt. At least those things exhibit character.

        I've had this rant building in me for a while, so it feels good to get it out, but if I had one piece of fashion advice to give to fellow geeks its: DON'T WHERE A BLACK SUIT! A simple navy, charcoal, or sharkskin suit will do much to set you apart from bland tasteless masses that insist on only wearing black.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ciggieposeur (715798)
          Black suits are the current standard for students doing college recruiting job interviews. Gray, brown, and blue suits are worn more by the interviewers.

          I suspect black made a comeback partly because it provides several good alternative outfits for women: black skirt + top, black pants + top, and black pantsuit, and the last two can be worn with either heels or flats. Purchasing one black skirt and one black pantsuit thus goes a long way.
        • by Red Flayer (890720) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @06:59AM (#22571724) Journal

          simple navy, charcoal, or sharkskin suit will do much to set you apart from bland tasteless masses that insist on only wearing black.
          I'd extend that even further.

          Provided that you have sufficient funds for more than one suit (and at $250 including tailoring for a cheap suit, it should be too much of a problem), the black suit should be worn only at funerals.

          Job interviews require a navy, dark brown, or dark grey suit -- navy is best, and the preferred material is a light wool. A very subtle pinstripe is good, and can be a way of adding "flare" within the requirements of a formal business environment. Note that a dark grey suit can also be used as your funeral suit.

          If you must wear a jacket & tie at work, then wear anything but black.

          As for people sweating in suits during the summer, one reason for that is most suits are three-season suits. It's just not appropriate to wear a ool suit in summer. An investment in two (or possibly three) summer-weight suits is a very good idea. Matte silk or rough-woven silk suits can be purchased for less than $300, and make a world of difference. Usually these are in lighter colors as well, and can also function as the de rigeur 'wedding suit'. If you're in a more relaxed area, you might be able to get away with a sport coat instead of a summer-weight suit.

          In short, I think everyone should own a dark grey wool suit, a navy (or possibly brown) wool suit, and one summer-weight suit (light grey or dark green are good choices). Following those, a black suit for funerals (and those of us who've been around a while know how often we need to wear it, unfortunately). After that, the suits you purchase should reflect your needs.

          I don't need to wear a suit to work anymore, so I wear three suits -- one for interviews, one for funerals, and one for weddings, basically. The other three suits I own are gathering dust in my closet, as I rarely need to wear them -- usually when I have two weddings in one weekend, for example.
      • by csteinle (68146) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @05:37AM (#22571344) Homepage
        Wearing a kilt at 100F? Crikey. That'd give me a serious case of the Betty Swollocks. It's obviously not a full 8 yards of woollen tartan you're wearing. A real kilt's designed for cold weather, not warm weather.
    • by tgd (2822) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @03:29AM (#22570714)
      The difference between t-shirts and jeans and suits and ties is one of corporate culture, not management vs grunt.

      That sort of elitist thinking ("programming sounds far more fun than managing things and people") is part of the culture that keeps IT and engineering staff out of decision making positions. You're looking at the business from your perpective and yours only, and announcing it to everyone.

      Building a business, building a team, management -- they're all forms of creative problem solving every bit as "fun" or creative as programming is. In fact, imaging programming for a CPU whose instructions have unpredictable execution speeds and results.

      Management isn't generally a bunch of PHB's who flail around with no idea what they're doing. Just as there are good engineers and bad engineers, the same is true of people who build and run businesses, but good or bad they're doing the same thing you're doing -- they're engineering teams or a business just as you are engineering classes or applications.

      Recognizing that will get you a long ways towards getting into the sort of position in a company where you can do what you find fun *and* have the influence needed to ensure decisions that impact areas of your responsibility are made correctly. Ignoring it will leave you forever being the monkey who has to jump when asked.
      • In fact, imaging programming for a CPU whose instructions have unpredictable execution speeds and results.

        Then it wouldn't be programming anymore, it would be guessing. Sure, you can make best guesses, but that's it. Management is trying to make "best guesses" so that the company will flourish.

      • by aug24 (38229) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @04:37AM (#22571070) Homepage

        Speaking as a contractor who has worked in dozens of companies, led and built teams and generally blurred the line between geek and management, I would say that:

        Management isn't generally a bunch of PHB's who flail around with no idea what they're doing.

        is basically wrong. Generally they are exactly that.

        Maybe not in a bricks and mortar business, but in IT that's pretty much exactly what they are. IMHO, of course.

        Cheers,
        Justin

      • Well Said (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bagsc (254194) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @04:51AM (#22571144) Journal
        The general problem with "low level" employees is not that they aren't bright enough, or hard working enough to be management. The problem is that they only care about themselves.

        You get paid at work because you're useful to someone else. But "low level" employees do their tasks, and that's it. "High quality" employees succeed by figuring out how to constantly be more useful to their boss. Don't confuse this as "sucking up" - creating efficiencies, new opportunities, and helping your boss achieve his tasks means your organization is making more money, and some of that money will get directed to the source if it can be found.

        Lower management takes objectives and organizes the people to accomplish them for the middle management. A middle manager strives to hit the benchmarks for the upper management. The upper management strives to keep the profits growing for the CEO. The CEO is redirecting the company and dealing with the board of directors and everyone who wants his ear as the figurehead. Every step is about serving someone else - the CEO is a slave to the Board, who are slaves to the investors, who need the stock price to go up to pay for their retirement or their kids' tuition.

        If you want to be paid more, just keep trying to keep the end customer happy.
      • Management isn't generally a bunch of PHB's who flail around with no idea what they're doing

        You need to look around. The Peter Principle [wikipedia.org] is alive and well, and is easy enough to see. Look at all those clueless top management at the Fed, the White House, the banks, etc., - everyone who went against the obvious - that at some point a mortgage is only worth as much as the earning power of the person who is paying it - and brought us yet another crisis.

        Why do you think that newer businesses can beat out older established competitors? Part of the reason is that the longer a business has been around, the more positions are filled by people who have been promoted to a position one higher than they are really capable of. So they're not all that competent, and their boss, who refuses to address it, is also incompetent. And his boss, and so on and so on and so on ...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Everything else aside, earning more money has some serious advantages. Early retirement, better vacations, and being able to ride out a depression with some help from your savings are all things that more money helps. Add a wife and family into the mix and more money's a verifiably good thing. I'm not saying that you should have that same opinion, but for me, I'd take the peace of mind that comes from more money over day-to-day happiness.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by richlv (778496)
        being unhappy with their everyday work, people get stressed easily, have bad climate in family and tend to develop serious health problems.
        quite a lot of upper management just have to retire earlier because their health has been silently broken faster than the guy working in construction.
        there's a limit where bigger wage just detoriates because of the everyday problems, and in the end the total "income" from that promotion is negative - but you usually don't notice that until it is too late.
    • by houghi (78078) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @03:49AM (#22570798)
      I have done both and unless you are an asshole pointy haired boss, being a manager can be very satisfying. You can not only hack at the code, but also steer the company in a direction that you think is good.

      e.g. you can start using the OS and/or programs you think (and know from experience) are better for the company in the mid and long term.

      Instead of you just doing your one job, you can achieve more then just what one person can do. You can motivate people to do it. You can do much more that way.

      Imagine that they would 'just' be coding. No, there is nothing shamefull in being a manager. There is something wrong of being an asshole, but they do not need to go together. I have worked for assholes who were not managers and managers who were not assholes.

      Also a suit is not uncomfortable and the fact that they are overpriced depends on where you buy them. Obviously, if you only want to wear t-shirts to every ocasion, including your wedding, then you will not be managament material anyway.

      The fact that you think your dresscode is more importand then the job you do, means you are not interested in people. Hence: not management material.
    • Who cares about the pay, once you are earning above a certain amount, being happy with what you do is far more important than earning more money. programming sounds far more fun than managing things and people. Give me t-shirts and jeans, screw wearing shirts, ties, suits and overpriced uncomfortable stuff like that.

      H'mmm... Having been either a technical director or managing director of IT companies for fifteen years, I'm back being just a software engineer. Why? Mostly because I enjoy it more. But I'm sitting here at my desk about to start work, with my long hair and my beard and wearing a cycling jersey. Idiocy about corporate uniform makes me tired; it's just so old. If you don't enjoy what you're doing, stop now. If you don't feel comfortable in what you're wearing, wear something different. Life is too short, and money is frankly just not worth it.

      But as a quick aside, the business suit is worn these days by lawyers, politicians, salesmen and the financial services industry - in other words, it's the uniform of the professionally dishonest. Is that really how you want people to see you?

      • You gave it away! (as another ex technical director and general manager now back doing systems development). If _everybody_ goes back to doing useful work, projects will get finished on time and the whole basis of the industry will collapse.

        Seriously, why is it that if an artist dresses like a tramp and snarls at anyone who tries to distract him (or her) while working, that's just how talent operates, but when it's engineers or programmers, that just shows how dysfunctional they are? I think Toby Young had

        • by Angostura (703910) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @04:56AM (#22571162)
          Let me have a stab at that. Could it be that 'management' involves, in part being able to communicate effectively with both colleagues and and people external to the company. The latter in particular is helped by conforming to societal norms in terms of dress.

          Clothes convey a message - you might not like it, but they do.

          So you ask: "why is it that if an artist dresses like a tramp and snarls at anyone who tries to distract him (or her) while working, that's just how talent operates, but when it's engineers or programmers, that just shows how dysfunctional they are?"

          The answer is - society thinks, of artists as idiosyncratic individuals who can defy social norms as part of their 'work'. It doesn't matter if an artist paints herself green and snarls like a dog, because they don't have to work as a team or manage anyone. The artist is sending a message: 'I don't conform', but that's part of the job description.

          Now imagine an engineer or programmer giving exactly the same message: 'I don't conform'. That may not be a hinderance in any way while they are bashing out Perl in a cubicle somewhere. But management requires the manager to conform - to buy into the company's and societies norms - at least to an extent.

          So that's why both the artist and the geek will be accepted as artist and geek while dressed as a tramp, but will find it more difficult to become a C*O

      • by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @05:26AM (#22571292) Homepage
        This is true. That uniform signals attachment to a subculture.

        I've had customers explicitly state that they feel comfortable about our competence because of the density of Coke-bottles, combat-boots, long-beards, band-shirts, hacker-attitude, incomprehensible posters with inside hacker-jokes, in our offices. These things signal attachment to a subculture, and indicate, to them, someone who lives, breathes thinks, lives code.

        Which is just as silly as trusting a salesman because he has a nice suit, but there you go, nobody ever said customers can't be silly.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @02:52AM (#22570492)
    I am embarrassed to say a couple of those got me - but since I work at a university, it's pretty obvious I gave up on the corporate ladder long ago...

    But seriously - do corporate IT folks really wear ties at all? Or is it just the managers (the "I like to pretend I'm a tech guy, but really I'm clueless" folks)?
    • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @03:21AM (#22570656)
      I've seen both: ties are a safety hazard if you have to put your head inside server racks or do lifting to get equipment into the right place. But they're a dress standard in many corporate cultures, just as a tidy desk is. Like doctors wearing scrubs in the hospital, they identify you as professional staff rather than as service staff, even though we often are service staff.
    • Well yes. And no. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @03:54AM (#22570826) Journal

      First of, wearing a tie or not has nothing to do with your actual competence. Neither is all of IT about tech. Corporate IT is far more then "just" the programmers and the managers. Some of the best people I have met over the years were not all that hot on the tech site but still good IT workers because they could bridge the gaps between the tech guys and the customer.

      I am a bit suspicious of either extreme when it comes to dress code. Some people just don't fit in suits (I am one of them) while others only competence is to look good in one. I had this situation years ago when I worked for a small company and didn't have my driving license. I would be sent to the customer with a guy who drove me, that was really all he was good for IT wise, he just didn't have a clue, but he sure did look good in a suit. It was pretty common for us to arrive at the customer and for them to mistake him as the "boss" and me as the helper. I couldn't blame them but it did proof to me that people look at the tie first, competence second (if you are lucky).

      However those cases were ALWAYS when the good looking people had screwed up and I had to come in to clean up, so this helped to make me acceptablebecause by this time the bosses were screaming and most bosses are rather down to earth and don't give a shit what the person who shovels the shit away looks like just as long as he is fast. But that doesn't make it any easier to get hired in the first place or to get the "easy" projects, we had a number of customers were I would only go under escort by sales because they had to provide a shield as it were of being dressed right to keep up appearances. A large customer dealing with real estate was one of them, everyone was in suits there, I looked like I was coming to pick up the trash, so thinking back to it we sorta send in the sales guy first to blind them with his outfit so I could do the tech work. For a lot of corporate IT SELLING your tech skills by putting it in a nice package is just as important as having the skills in the first place.

      If you are detached somewhere where a full suit and tie is the regular dresscode they are going to have to be sold on your expensive contract by someone they can relate too. If you are REALLY good then a competent sales guy can sell your sandals but you better be REALLY good and you have to accept that for jobs were a really good guy ain't needed, they prefer to sell the guy who is easier on the eyes.

      Mind you, there some far nastier versions of this. Females whose skills are sold disguised behind a male because tech guys can't possibly have tits. Don't even get me started on race issues.

      Looks matter in the business world where everyone is always trying to sell you something. Goverment and education are different, goverment typically is run by people who just stuck with it for decades and education is were everyone who is to weird ends up, but in "business" it is everyone for themselves and you constantly have to sell yourselve.

      So do you have to wear a tie? Well it all depends on what role you have. When you are coding at home or your own office, who cares. When you go to implement it, well, it isn't very comfortable. At the launch party? People should know how good you are by now. But when it is time to sell yourselve, then yes, it is just polite to dress up a bit. In sales, you dress up and if you are unlucky enough to have to be part of the selling of your skills, then looking right helps. A good IT company will help the hopeless with that. I simply arranged at one company that they dressed the worsed offenders of us. Because while going in jeans and a t-shirt is bad, it is even worse if you force these guys to buy a suit because they will screw it up. Send them out shopping at a good store that helps them pick the right outfit and have the company pay for it, keep it at the office and let the secretary handle keeping it clean. Let the people with a clue to dresscode handle the dressing, it might sound childish but it does work and offcourse in plenty of

  • Pigtails? (Score:5, Funny)

    by EdIII (1114411) * on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @02:54AM (#22570502)

    The shocker in here was pigtails on women... I love pigtails on women!


    Maybe that is the reason why. Schoolgirl outfits and pigtails go hand in hand. It may be sexist, I won't deny it, but women who do this probably remind the men too much of a strip club and they need all that concentration on how best to screw the consumer :)

    Let's not even touch men with pigtails either
     
  • Honestly, (Score:5, Funny)

    by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @02:56AM (#22570522) Homepage Journal
    I thought the title said Bedroom for like 2 minutes.

  • by Travoltus (110240) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @02:57AM (#22570532) Journal
    is a major cause of slow-downs in innovation, one has to wonder if we're not looking at the problem in reverse.
  • Real lesson (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wanax (46819) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @03:02AM (#22570562)
    People base a hell of a lot on first impressions.. Although in theory this isn't the best approach, unless we have a new enlightenment one would be wise to "overdress", always.
  • Slideshow (Score:3, Informative)

    by Shadow-isoHunt (1014539) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @03:02AM (#22570564) Homepage
    Why the hell did you link to a slideshow? That site's slow as hell for me(rest of the net's fine), and the images weren't even loaded by the time it decided it was time to switch slides. The net isn't meant to be like a powerpoint presentation. Worse was the fact that adblock caught the "pause" button.
  • the answer (Score:4, Funny)

    by ILuvRamen (1026668) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @03:02AM (#22570566)
    I have the answer! You can't get into the board room because you're too busy fixing the CEO's computer that he broke again while he's in the meeting. I think we all know that's the real reason.
  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @03:08AM (#22570582)
    I know this is supposed to be a humourous article but I get really annoyed at these "business types" who consider anyone who isn't aiming for a 6/7 figure salary or who isn't treading on all of their work colleagues in order to reach the top, to be somehow abnormal - or even worse, demotivated or lazy.

    I'm in my mid-40s here in the UK, I've been a techie in telecoms and security for 25+ years now, I'm now a consultant earning a good salary as does my wife. Admittedly we've no kids but we've got our own home as well as two holiday homes overseas (not time-shares, fully ours) and I couldn't want for a better life. I work a 37.5 hour week and at 5:30pm I can pretty much forget about work until the following morning, but whilst I'm at work, I do work hard.

    So quite frankly, you can stuff your boardroom job, flashy cars, Armani suits, the endless travelling and hotel rooms, and the sixteen hour days because I'm not interested. I earn enough to live very comfortably provided that I'm careful but my life of "three thirds" is going great - one third work, one third sleep and one third pleasure...

    • by jfb3 (25523) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @03:22AM (#22570660)
      See, that's the difference between you and them. You think this article was meant to be humorous. They don't.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Without the anger, I agree with you. You and I can also avoid the "Peter Principle" by refusing to be promoted beyond our level of competence, and not worrying if some younger person who couldn't shell script their way of file names with spaces in them winds up at the meeting that gets budget for your department.

      The trick is to keep communications open with those managers, so that you help them get what they need to do their work (such as QA records, work records, and cooperation with silly corporate polici
  • Oh damn (Score:5, Funny)

    by Quato (132194) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @03:10AM (#22570588)
    I got excited.... I thought it read....
    Gaffes That Keep IT Geeks From the Bedroom

    I'm so lonely...
  • by Skapare (16644) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @03:13AM (#22570608) Homepage

    ... people that think it's more important to judge people by their looks than by what they can contribute to the job. Sure, if the job is is to look pretty or whatever, then you better be able to do that well. But if the job is to make the database perform well, or keep the network secure, or debug the company application product, then those skills are how a person should be judged ... not on their T-shirt color, length of dread-locks, wearing of sandals even in winter, etc.

    OK, bathing every day is good.

    Choice of after hours sport might affect things, but it should only be because of who is at the same sporting place at the same time. One group might congregate at the golf course, while another is at the skating rink, and yet another is at the shooting range.

    • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @03:34AM (#22570730)

      . people that think it's more important to judge people by their looks than by what they can contribute to the job...OK, bathing every day is good.
      But then you're engaging in the same thing they are! The point of the matter is that you dress and act like you want people to see you. If you don't dress like someone who's going to impress the boss, then you're obviously not trying very hard to impress the boss.

      Communication is the name of the game when it comes to management, and someone who can't communicate who they are through their clothing are probably going to have problems communicating in other ways. Is this the way it should be? Maybe not. But society is built upon judging people, and if you don't try to be judged favorably, don't bitch when you aren't.
    • by tirerim (1108567) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @03:40AM (#22570762)
      Well, it's great to know how people should be judged. Unfortunately, that's very rarely how they actually are judged... in part because the people doing the judging often don't even have the capability to assess the correct criteria. Knowing how to impress people with poor evaluative skills is still useful if you want to get somewhere in the real world. And those people aren't completely on crack, either -- they're doing something that we all do sometimes, using evidence from a known domain to give clues about the quality of an unknown domain. If you're buying a car, and you have a choice between one with a perfect exterior and one with a few rust holes in the body, you're probably going to pick the nice-looking one, even if they appear to run the same, because it's evidence that it was better treated, and the mechanical parts of the car are likely to last longer, too. Of course, you could be completely wrong, but you're still basing your decision on the evidence you have. For people, the reasoning is similar: someone who is careful in their appearance is also probably careful in their work.

      Personally, I work for a nonprofit, mostly from home, so I don't have to worry about my appearance much. On the other hand, I also don't make much money; if I cared enough about money to work in industry, I certainly wouldn't ignore how I look.
  • presentation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by radu.vatav (1031922) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @03:20AM (#22570644)
    The author of the linked article seems to know all about being a "board"-whatever, but isn't able to make a decent presentation (the page is updated too quick for me to read the text). Sort of fits together...
  • by timmarhy (659436) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @03:25AM (#22570676)
    Board memebers most precious ability is to talk and eat bullcrap straight faced. if a geek hears something he thinks is total crap, they aren't able to not say something. I know i can't, i just have to point out the flaws in a bad idea.
  • by Derling Whirvish (636322) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @03:51AM (#22570810) Journal
    Gaffes Keeping Geeks Out of the Board Room

    1. Mismatching Shoes and Belt
    2. Tie and Short Sleeve Shirt
    3. The One Binary Watch
    4. Tight Black Jeans
    5. Oversized Hawaiian Shirts
    6. Socks and Sandals
    7. Alternative Hairstyles
    8. Concert T-shirts
    9. A Closet of Vendor and Trade Show Gear
    10. Stains

    It's really testament to the shallowness of the boardroom that these are actually taken seriously by those with the ability to promote people. Your plan for upgrading the servers using well-reasoned arguments backed with meticulous research data to save the company megamoney in maintenance well be passed over because they are concentrating on your mismatched belt and shoes instead. >sigh
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wodgy7 (850851)
      I used to have real trouble understanding why some people put so much emphasis on ridiculously unimportant stuff like coordinating shoes with your belt, but I found it helpful to reframe the concept to similar things I care about but others probably don't. For instance, someone using Arial instead of Helvetica is very distracting to me. Most people don't care. Inconsistent capitalization or punctuation anywhere is also very distracting to me, but in most cases ordinary people never notice. Etc... My gu
  • Ponytail (Score:4, Funny)

    by rickwood (450707) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @04:20AM (#22570956)
    Alternative Hairstyle: Guilty. However, I think in my case the real reason has more to do with statements such as, "Greg, you would do well not to turn this into a matter of honor."

    Although, "If you knew what you were doing, I wouldn't be here. Why don't you make yourself useful and go get me a cup of coffee. Black," probably runs a close second.
  • OBEY! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Richard Kirk (535523) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @04:22AM (#22570962)

    Yep: they tell us you can be in charge, but only if you conform and obey. And the person who is above you - he (yep, it is more likely to be a he) got there by conforming and obeying. And all they way up the chain the same rules apply. Except, the geek wonders, what happens at the top? Reduction ad absurdam, guys - who does the top person obey and conform to? Lord Xenu? Some Darth Vader guy who allows himself alone to wear the cool black cape, and everyone else has to wear the regulation grey? Som being of pure energy that is unable to support a tie, and yet can insist on it on others?

    Actually, no. I have seen clothing standards spontaneously appear. A clean room was set up. The people who worked in it got to chose the colour of their clean room gowns and shoes. Noboday wanted the white. The people who worked in there went for the light blue. People like me who had occasional buisness there, and needed to use the electron microscope used the deep blue ones. We had white ones for visitors. After about a month, I found I was getting ticked off for wearing the wrong colour gown, even though the gowns didn't actually belong to anybody in particular.

    The Scientific Civil Serivce in the UK used to start at jacket and tie, then go to light suits (meaning you didn't do anything too messy or chemical, and could go double jeopardy with matching trousers and jacket. The further up you went, the darker the suit got. However, I could not go and get a perfectly black suit and become King - the system enforced the dress, not the other way around. In the Foreign office things were the other way around - going from dark suites, via light suits, to jacket and trousers, perhaps implying you spent your time in Jakarta, Bejing, Hawaii, and Bongo-Bongo-land, and you are only popping through London. I bet the Queen would rather wear almost anything on her head other than the Regulation Shiny Hat that her office requires for one or two state occasions.

    The ancient Romans thought the toga was silly and impractical, but it was traditional, and it was status. The tale of the 47 Ronin was all started by someone being advised to wear the wrong colour of trousers at court. Year yellow stockings cross-gartered at the knee, and you were a fool in Shakespere's day. Come the Revolution, we shall all be wearing Mao suits. if the fashionistas say silly long middle-ages shoes, or ruffs, or bustles, you jump, or you fall behind. Is there truly no escape?

    Let me qualify that last cry: is there no escape, that also allows us power, influence, and a decent wage?

  • by jandersen (462034) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @05:49AM (#22571388)
    I barely managed to read the first page; but there is a grain of thruth in there. Every group of people has its own 'culture' and norms, and if you don't fit in, you will find it hard to be accepted as part of the group. Part of that is the way you look - if you want to be accepted amongst upper management, you have to look the part. The same is true for engineers - after all, would you trust a programmer wearing an impeccable suit and tie?

    But much more important than the clothes you wear is the person you are. Are you reliable? Are you life-competent? In all groups it is important to contribute to the group, not just professionally, but also socially. You can fit into a group even if you break a lot of the norms, if you are seen to make important contributions to the group. A bit like the messy old grandpa who seems to be from another planet, but who none the less resolves a lot of family conflicts with his understanding and wisdom.
  • by SystematicPsycho (456042) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @07:29AM (#22571840)
    There was this one guy at my old work who's keyboard smelt like KFC because I guess he didn't find it finger licking good, another gaffe.

    On another note I'm an Oracle DBA but I ain't dressing like this?! http://www.dba-oracle.com/dress_code.htm [dba-oracle.com] ; The sad thing is I think he's serious.

    Any tech who thinks that they can cut the best code and will one day make it to the top because of the awesome code they've been writing, or problems they've been fixing is living in a fantasy land unless they drastically change something.

    The management world is a world away from rational scientific thinking where fortunately/unfortunately some techies live. Management makes decisions based on money and sometimes pride. If you're a techie fixing a problem chances are the senior types are thinking 'hurry up and fix it fatso' but saying to you 'How are you? We really need this fixed, if you could work on it and give me an ETA that would be greeeaat'. If you really want to be "in", you have to start throwing around management mumbo jumbo and acting like a prick to people. Kiss some arse at a few out of work functions, start staying back late and soon you'll be delegating that code cutting to some other 'fatso'.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Wednesday February 27, 2008 @07:55AM (#22571982) Journal
    If a boss pays more attention to matched shoes and belt, or could be convinced that you are a great "pay attention to detail person" by your choice of shoes and belt, he is a pointy haired boss. Organizations that employ such dolts as bosses are doomed for failure. If you can't get to management positions because of your attire, leave that company. It is infested with all the bad management types.

    Someday I hope to see articles written by clueless hack journalists aimed at the MBA types asking them to wear pocket protectors to impress their came-from-the-IT CEO.

A language that doesn't have everything is actually easier to program in than some that do. -- Dennis M. Ritchie

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